The word Namaste is made up of two parts, “nama” (to bow) and “te” (you), and is a salutation originating in ancient India.  It is often accompanied by a gesture of hands with palms together in front of the heart or brow chakra, and a slight bow of the head.  In Japan, this gesture is known as “Gassho”.  One translation of its meaning is “The light and divinity within me bows to the light and divinity within you”.

12096602_1020700281285257_8346442160297322745_nIts true essence is the humbling admission that we are all equal.  We are all perfect forms of humanity, of love, and are all one.

Sounds a bit “out there” for some, a throwback to a “hippie” culture.  Loving everyone?  Really?  The 60’s spawned a whole “love movement”, from the Coke commercial that promoted world unity and peace, to the music, which espoused “loving the one you’re with” and “all you need is love“.

I think part of the problem is that many now think of love in its sexual context, ignoring the concept of “brotherly” love, aka platonic love. I have found myself a changed person from 15 years ago.  As I work on my own healing, I have let go of many fears, judgements and behavioural patterns.  I find it quite natural to have feelings of love towards perfect strangers.  After all, our greatest teachers have encouraged us to love our neighbours and our fellow man.

“What is love?  Love is the absence of judgement”  – The Dalai Lama

11043094_930414546992589_155610013738205592_n I have been privileged to meet many like-minded people through my Reiki studies and shift in consciousness.  The first time I heard this kinship referred to as a “tribe”, I laughed out loud.  It was a perfect description!  When I share my beliefs and discuss concepts such as  healing and love with others who feel the same, it strengthens my conviction that love truly does heal everything.  My tribe helps empower me when I have doubts or struggle with moving forward at times.  They also help my heart open up more and more…

And the more open my heart becomes, the more wonderful things enter my life….including more people who think and aspire to live as I do.

“Namaste” was something I once only said at the end of a yoga class.  Now it has become a salutation that is a natural response when my heart and soul recognize the divine spirit in others.  I am overcome with gratitude, knowing that I have been connected to the divine once more.  Or rather, that the divine in myself has been connected, and networked, with the divine in another being.

Last week, I met a young man, and although it was our first meeting, there was a spark that I recognized as a connection and made me instantly feel close to him.  When we talked about how it’s so wonderful that we have such a great friendship, from our initial meeting, I explained “Namaste” to him.  It was the perfect way to describe what had occurred.

I suggest we all put aside our fears and our biases, our judgements and assumptions.  Let’s open up our hearts as this Thanksgiving weekend approaches.  Let us see the light and love in each of us, including ourselves, so that we can all share this collective great and beautiful love.  Namaste to each of you.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other”

– Mother Teresa


Reiki, An All Purpose Aid

Reiki is such an incredible gift.  All the more reason to wonder why it isn’t used more often in our daily lives.  I guess it’s because it is primarily thought of as a healing practice for our bodies, to help promote healing during illness or after injuries.  In that respect, it can be very powerful in its ability to boost our immune systems, and to help remove any blocks that may be impeding our body’s natural healing process.

But what about using Reiki for “situations”?  I recently accompanied my father to the hospital for some stress tests.  I used Reiki to ensure safe travelling to the city, and a timely arrival.  I used Reiki to help my father be at ease while waiting for his tests.  And finally, while he was undergoing one of the tests, I was in the room with him and sent Reiki to him while he was on a treadmill.  I sat with my palms near my lap, but directed at my father.  The technician saw this, but made no comment.  (Had she asked, I would have explained what I was doing.)  Dad performed the test easily, even though he had been worried about how he would do earlier.  I had asked for Reiki to be sent for my father’s highest good, that it would be of maximum benefit for him.  This did not mean that the tests would not show any problems, just that whatever was best for my father would be evident.  In this case, ruling out any heart conditions meant that we could explore other possibilities for his health concerns.

Reiki flows through everything.  It flows through us, through animals and plants, through the ground and air that surround us.  In the vegetable garden this afternoon, I saw that some of my cucumber plants did not look healthy, with some unusual spots on the leaves.  So, of course, I sent Reiki to them.  In fact, I then sent Reiki to the whole garden!  Another great example is when, earlier in the spring, I had planted some blackberry canes that were not in the best shape.  As I planted them in compost rich soil, I used Reiki on them.  I added Reiki energy to the water that was poured into the holes, and for over a week, gave them a blast of Reiki whenever I went to the garden.  I should have taken “before” and “after” pictures!  From dried up canes, with only a few live shoots, the four groups of canes I planted have thrived, bloomed, and are now setting fruit!  Give it a try, you may be surprised at the results when your seeds and plants – and even water – receive a Reiki boost.

Self-Reiki-BadgeThe last example of day-to-day Reiki is the most valuable one, self-care.  I give myself Reiki every day.  Sometimes, I start my day with it.  Other times, I end my day with it.  Regardless of when, or for how long, the most important thing is that I do it every day.  When I start my day with Reiki, I feel grounded and eager to interact with the world.  I repeat the Reiki precepts and allow myself to be cleared and ready to face the day.  When I end my day with it, it helps ease any body aches, and soothes my mind for a peaceful sleep.   Once in a while, if a friend or student talks about something they are going through, I ask them if they have remembered to give themselves Reiki.  Many times, they have forgotten.  That’s why making it a daily practice helps form a wonderful Reiki habit.  It should be as natural as remembering to breathe…

I leave you with the 5 Reiki precepts:

“Just for today:

I will not anger.

I will not worry.

I will be grateful.

I will do my work honestly and diligently.

I will be kind to every living thing.”

Supporting Our Voice (or Throat Chakra)

Speaking our truth, having a voice, and using it to communicate freely are very important to our well being.  Our throat is where our 5th chakra is found, although this chakra also affects our neck, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, jaw, mouth, and tongue.  A simple description of the chakra system would be a system of wheels of energy, spinning vibrantly with “Prana” or life force energy.  This system of 7 basic chakras, when functioning optimally, keeps us healthy and vital.  A weak chakra point can manifest itself in our emotional, spiritual or physical levels….or all three.

When clear and strong, our voice (ie. throat chakra) enables us to express ourselves honestly and to speak our highest truth.  Many times, we find ourselves withholding such expression, and that can happen for various reasons.

Fear is often the #1 reason.  We fear that our words may be rejected, we fear that we may be ridiculed or misunderstood.  We fear that others may judge us because of what we say.  And so, we keep these words and thoughts to ourselves, and suppress our voice.  My first awareness of the throat and communication came when our son was young and came down with a very sore throat, on the day that he was to do a presentation that he was worried about at school.  Thanks to Louise Hay’s wonderful book, “You Can Heal Your Life”, I discovered that a sore throat could indicate “feeling unable to express the self”.  Some lozenges and a pep talk helped, and it vanished quickly the next day.

Sometimes, we don’t speak our truth out of kindness.  As I wrote in a previous blog, kindness is essential, so what we need to do is find a way to voice ourselves in a kind way.  If we withhold our words because we are worried about hurting someone’s feelings, it can be hurtful to us, too. We may often assume that our words will be received poorly, but if we present them in a loving way, without aggression or judgement, we can benefit both parties.

So what can we do when we find ourselves blocked?  How do we support this chakra and our ability to speak clearly and honestly?

Fortunately, there are many ways.  As a Reiki practitioner, I will place my hand over my throat and give myself Reiki, with the focus that the energy will help unblock this area.

Each chakra has a colour associated with it, and for the 5th chakra, that colour is blue.  You can close your eyes and visualize (or meditate longer) that your throat is enveloped in beautiful, supportive blue light.  Wearing blue around the throat (as in a scarf, or tie for the gents) is another suggestion.

Beautiful Lapis Lazuli from the Rock Shop
Beautiful Lapis Lazuli from the Rock Shop

There are crystals that help support our throat chakra and, when worn as a necklace, can give us extra help.  As well, you can hold them and meditate with them.  Lapis lazuli, blue kyanite, aquamarine and blue sodalite are all fabulous for that.  My friend, Charles Brand, has a great selection of crystals and gemstones, and I love placing a lapis palm stone over my throat when I need help there.  For more information, you can check out his website.  If requested, I also use crystals during Reiki sessions, to enhance the healing session.

And last, but not least, we can use essential oils to balance this area.  I love using a doTERRA blend called “Whisper”, which contains patchouli, bergamot, sandalwood, cinnamon, ylang ylang, among other oils.  At a Chakra Balancing course I took recently, I learned that one drop on the throat will support our ability to express our feelings and speak one’s truth, by calming the mind and allowing us to discern our emotions and find a way to express our heart’s will.

So there you have it.  I think it is very helpful to do an assessment of sorts on ourselves every once in a while.  Take some time to learn more about the chakra system and how they affect us, and this awareness may help you find strengths in all your chakras.  Awareness is the first step to getting better.

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
– Spencer Johnson

My Favourite Reiki Precept

Of the five Reiki precepts, the one that stirs my heart every day is “Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.”  What comes to mind when you read this?  Does it mean holding a door open for someone?  Paying an unsolicited compliment?  These are certainly both acts of kindness, but it can be so much more.

Most of us are quite capable of finding nice things to say about someone’s appearance, or something that they have achieved.  How wonderful is it when we have taken extra time to style our hair, or to put together a great fashion combo, and someone notices?  That “You look great today!” compliment you receive will probably put a smile on your face, and a warm glow somewhere inside.  For a few hours, our self-esteem has risen, we are vibrating at a slightly higher frequency, and the sun seems to shine a bit brighter.  Our whole outlook on our day may even improve. All because of four words spoken from the heart.

This kind of kindness is something that many of us can – and do – practise daily.  But what about the type of kindness that comes with a bit more work, and perhaps a bit of (perceived) sacrifice?  The kindness that comes from compassion and empathy and unconditional love for all?

“Kindness” – n. goodness, favour, act of assistance, service, help, aid

Many times in our daily interactions with others, we are caught responding with our ego, rather than our heart.  Our need to be right or to have the last word sometimes overcomes our compassion.  An awareness of this behaviour is the first step to modifying it. I try to catch myself before I respond.  Better yet, I pay attention to the situation, to see what is truly happening and being said, without jumping to a response.  Am I  considering the entire situation?

For example, many years ago, there was a person I sometimes found myself “at odds” with and I often became engaged in yet another unpleasant sparring match.  I realized there was more going on with them than just a desire to spar verbally.   Almost every time we ran into trouble, it was because they were either not feeling well (in pain, even) or had been upset with someone else.   This realization only happened when I dropped my ego, and was present and acting with compassion.  Once I figured out why they were being unkind,  I didn’t take anything personally, and could find it very easy to be kind and not respond harshly.   Sometimes the best thing to say was nothing at all…. The situation dissipated quickly every time.

When we live a life of service to others, it doesn’t mean we are giving anything up.  On the contrary, we are embracing and receiving so much more.  We are not inviting ourselves to be used as doormats and to be taken advantage of, either.  Rather, we are setting a standard for how we expect to be treated.  And when this becomes the norm, when others see it as a permanent character trait, things shift.  When we live kindly, people notice.  After a while, they start living kindly, too.  We can all take an active role in creating a better, kinder world.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”. ~Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama